Farm Wheat Supply Drops in England After Wet Harvest, Defra Says

Wheat stockpiles held by farmers in England and Wales slumped 9.6 percent in the year through the end of February after the harvest declined, the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs said.

Farmers held 3.507 million metric tons of wheat at the end of February, down from 3.881 million tons at the same time in 2012, Defra said today in a biannual report on its website. Inventories represented about 28 percent of production in England and Wales. The U.K. had its second wettest year on record in 2012, according to the Met Office, cutting the nation’s wheat harvest by 13 percent.

“Due to the poor quality of wheat from the 2012 harvest, it is thought that the majority of grain still on farm in February 2013 was kept for feeding to livestock,” Defra said.

Wheat stockpiles held by ports, cooperatives and grain merchants across the U.K. totaled about 1.2 million tons, similar to last year. Still, inventories of imported wheat more than doubled to 274,000 tons, compared with 117,000 tons in February 2012. Supplies of domestic wheat fell 15 percent to 915,000 tons. Commercial stockpiles of imported corn rose 25 percent from a year earlier to 99,000 tons.

Barley stockpiles held by farmers in England and Wales totaled 616,000 tons, 15 percent higher than a year earlier, as most production last year escaped wet-weather damage, according to the report. U.K. inventories of barley held by ports, cooperatives and merchants rose 4.6 percent to 777,000 tons.

U.K. wheat millers used 587,000 tons of wheat in March, up 10 percent from the same time a year earlier, Defra said today in a separate report. Usage of home-grown wheat slid 17 percent while the amount of imported wheat milled surged 223 percent.

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